When the word “health” is mentioned, more often than not, people’s minds immediately go to the physical aspect. How’s my cholesterol? Have I gained weight? Should I start taking vitamin D?
But physical health is just one piece of the puzzle.
According to the World Health Organisation,
“Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”
Complete physical, mental, and social well-being. Also notice the implication of this definition, which is that health is more than just the absence of mental disorders or disabilities.
Now let’s look at the UK healthcare system. On the surface, it is lauded for its equitable access and was even ranked as the best in the world overall in a report by the Commonwealth Fund that looked at healthcare systems in developed countries.
But now consider this:
The Department of Health states that there are about 15 million people in the UK who suffer from chronic or long-term conditions that don’t have a cure and are only managed by medication.
Chronic conditions make up about half of all GP appointments, 64% of all outpatient appointments, and over 70% of all inpatient bed days. (,The King’s Fund)
What’s troubling about these statistics is that the current healthcare system wasn’t built to accommodate chronic illnesses and their treatments, which are more expensive, complex, and long-term than acute (short-term) conditions, like an asthma attack or a broken bone.
We’re in a global health crisis.
Chronic disease is an ever-growing problem that’s not going away anytime soon.
They are the leading causes of death and disability worldwide. The common and preventable risk factors linking four of the most prominent chronic diseases — cardiovascular diseases, cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and type 2 diabetes — are biological (notably high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, and being overweight) and behavioural (unhealthy diet, physical inactivity, and tobacco use). At the same time, ,studies suggest that more than 85% of chronic disease is caused by environmental factors like diet, behaviour, environmental toxins, and lifestyle. Without controlling these and other key risk factors, we can only expect the disease and mortality rates to rise.
And we haven’t even touched on mental health, defined as a state of well-being in which an individual realises their own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively, and is able to make a contribution to their community.
In England, mental illness is the second-largest source of burden of disease. Mental illnesses are more common, long-lasting, and can impact other health conditions. At any given time, 1 in 6 adults have symptoms associated with mental health problems and each year, ,1 in 4 people will experience a mental health problem of some kind.
So what can we do about all of this?
There’s no single quick-fix solution, unfortunately. But it starts with taking more ownership of our health and thinking about it holistically so that we place equal importance on our mental, spiritual, and physical aspects. We also need to understand that the areas we focus on will change throughout our lives.
Whether you want to improve your leadership skills, become a better public speaker, optimise your health, or simply sleep better, they all fall under the umbrella of living a better, healthier life.
Everything is connected so when one or more parts are out of balance (dissatisfaction with a career path, feeling stuck in life, experiencing severe insomnia from anxiety), it can quickly derail us unless we actively do something to get us back on track.
Our health and living up to our potential shouldn’t be left up to chance.
Which leads to…Wondersource.
Wondersource is designed as the first online centralised marketplace to find and book vetted experts, coaches, and alternative healthcare professionals for healthier and more empowered living. We created this platform to make it easier for people to access the resources they need in order to reach their goals, whether they are physical, mental, spiritual, or a combination of everything. There are no shortcuts when it comes to our health and success. But the evidence-based practices behind these experts and services have been proven to get results, given a certain amount of openness, commitment, and consistency.
Our mission touches on six points:
Despite the limitations with the modern healthcare system and our leaning towards functional medicine to optimise health and prevent future diseases, we believe in conventional medicine’s ability to help heal the body. It is both necessary and effective for managing symptoms and handling emergency conditions such as a massive injury or a life-threatening stroke and we would be far worse off without it. We also don’t blindly accept all alternative therapies. We’re shaped by an integrative approach to medicine where we look at both ends of the spectrum through the lens of science and consider all of the factors that contribute to our overall health and well-being.
The way the world works is evolving.
On the career front, the job market is becoming increasingly competitive and people are changing jobs more often. Career uncertainty is on the rise while the skills required to excel are rapidly changing. All of this is leading to an uptick in stressful lifestyles — we’re either trying to keep up or catch up — and we’re spending more on wellness and self-improvement.
When it comes to healthcare, the system, as a whole, is broken and still functions on a reactive basis (only once a problem appears is a treatment given). The need for preventative healthcare is urgent in order to prevent future diseases but the current system hasn’t made room for it.
And then there’s COVID, the global pandemic that has brought the world to its knees.
The silver lining is that we’ve all become more comfortable with the idea of communicating online, which has removed the barrier for things like telehealth and online coaching. We’ve also seen a growing trend in freelancing as people carve out their own space in the digital landscape to make their services (which were previously limited to in-person and a specific locale) available around the world.
But there’s always that one risk. Anyone can be online and say anything…so who’s vetting and curating the true experts from the less credible?
There’s a gap between experts and individuals and we want to fix it.
Wondersource helps solve the most common issues faced by both experts and users.
An oversaturated market with a lack of access to target audiences. With an unregulated market and growing numbers, it’s hard for “good” coaches (those who are certified, accredited, and/or have solid training and experience) to stand out from the crowd. After some research, we discovered that most experts want an easy-to-use platform where they can focus on providing services in their core competency while also having access to a larger and more targeted audience.
My personal experiences, and those of friends and colleagues, guided the user side of Wondersource. Finding professional help is a trying and time-consuming process. I am keenly aware of the many roadblocks that can keep someone from reaching their goals and living a healthier, more fulfilling life.
Conventional isn‘t cutting it. The world is still working within a system built for conventional medicine. Right now, doctors are limited in the time they can spend with each patient. It’s not feasible to focus on each individual and provide the necessary nutrition, supplement, and lifestyle changes that are key to preventing and reversing many diseases. The experts we have on our platform, however, are available just for you, with some of them specifically focused on preventative healthcare.
Lack of knowledge leads to overwhelm. Busy professionals don’t know where to start on their journey towards a better life. So many of us have an idea of what would make us more successful, healthier, or fulfilled, but lack the time or know-how to map out a plan or find the experts who could help us.
Finding the right expert for YOU isn’t easy. With the proliferation of coaches and experts out there, the problem isn’t finding one — it’s finding one who is compatible with your needs. It takes a lot of time and due diligence to source and research these experts. Anyone can call themselves a coach or consultant these days. But not everyone has the credentials and experience it takes to be a good match for you.
There’s still a stigma attached to coaching. If we need a coach then it must mean we’re doing something wrong or that we’ve failed in some way. That, of course, isn’t true. It’s time to normalise getting support in any and every area where we need it.
It’s just plain hard to make lasting changes. Anyone who’s made a promise to “better” themselves — to go to the gym more often, to meditate every morning, to shift over to a success mindset — knows this. It’s not easy to set and stick to goals, identify your own weaknesses, or make an actionable plan that breaks down behaviours before building them back up again. Self-help books and courses can only get you so far.
There is a real need for experts to support and help people live healthier lives; more so now in a time when our lives have been turned upside down and we’re dealing with feelings of instability and uncertainty.
A coach is invested in getting you to make whatever changes are best for you. They’re there to hold you accountable, to guide you, and to offer an objective perspective without judgment. However, they aren’t necessarily teachers, nor are they miracle workers. And they won’t take the place of therapists if that’s what you need (which I’ll touch on shortly).
When you’re looking to make positive changes in your life — whether it’s to instil good habits, reframe your way of thinking, or gain a better understanding of your actions and behaviour (and how they could be hindering you) — a coach can help you get to where you want to be.
The value of 1:1 coaching can be immeasurable. Look at people like Eric Schmidt, Steve Jobs, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Serena Williams, and other leaders across all fields who have worked with coaches.
Coaching vs. Therapy
There are good arguments for both sides and I’m not here to claim that one is better than the other. With that being said, while therapy is amazing and serves a purpose, it’s not for everyone, it’s not always the best option, and it’s certainly not the only way to support one’s mental health. However, if you have a mental illness or problem, seek help from a psychiatrist or a psychotherapist.
The proactive nature of coaching can be highly beneficial in the mental health space by helping people with issues or obstacles that may not be addressed in therapy. I personally know people who saw therapists for years while struggling with work-related issues. When I asked if the therapist was helping in that area, they said no, though it was clear that was a source of their struggles.
At a certain point, you’ll gain more out of actively addressing the obstacles you’re facing and overcoming limiting beliefs and that’s where coaching can really benefit you.
We’re hopeful about the future of health and wellness.
Between the health crisis, disheartening statistics, and the overall uncertainty in the world today, it seems like things are looking bleak. But that’s far from true.
More people are embracing a holistic approach to health and learning how to take care of themselves and when to ask for help.
We built Wondersource so that everyone can feel supported on their journey towards having better health, taking advantage of opportunities, and living their best life. We know how much you can benefit from the help of a supportive expert or coach.
Speaking from experience, working within a one-size-fits-all program can be challenging with minimal benefits. Our coaches and experts tailor their work to your specific needs. What would be right for me, would likely not be right for you.
Wondersource is committed to helping our users grow, thrive, and live healthier lives. There’s still a lot of work to be done in the health and wellness space but we think this is a pretty good start.
Warren Buffet famously said his number one tip for success is “invest in yourself”. Prioritise yourself and your well-being, and everything else will start to fall into place.
We have experts across key areas of life that will support you in your mental, spiritual, physical and emotional health. Book our experts today and feel the change through living well, achieving success and generating happiness like never before. Get in touch with us through firstname.lastname@example.org.
Post written by Michelle Velan and edited by Yoko Izu.